Two new master’s degree programs at Thompson Rivers University add a unique element to the university’s school of business and economics. Both the Master of Environmental Economics and Management (MEEM) and the Master in Science of Environmental Economics and Management (MScEEM) degrees focus on bringing sustainability into the world of business management.
According to Laura Lamb, an associate professor in business, the programs, which started this past September, are the first of their kind in Western Canada.
“The only other one I know of in Canada is at the University of Toronto, and that’s in a different league,” Lamb said. “I think it could be a signature program for TRU because of the fact that it is unique.”
Much like TRU’s MBA program, both the MEEM and MScEEM programs can be completed in one year by students with a bachelor’s degree in business administration or commerce.
These programs, while structured similarly to TRU’s existing MBA programs, offer students looking to pursue careers in economics or business management the chance to obtain a more specialized degree.
Previously, the department allowed students in undergraduate programs to minor in environmental economics and sustainability. This lack of such specialization at the master’s level was partly responsible for the creation of the two new programs, Lamb said.
“Economics has had a minor in environmental and sustainability for a number of years in our undergraduate program,” Lamb said. “We are just taking it to the next level with the master’s program.”
Many faculty, including Lamb, have focused their research on the environment and sustainable economics over the last several years. Lamb said that this research specialization amongst economics professors heavily contributed to the creation of the new programs as well.
Though the programs focus on giving students a skill set that combines maximizing profit with environmental stewardship, these new master’s are for more than just business students, Lamb said.
“It is also applicable to students who want to work with policy in government,” Lamb said. “MBAs are directed more to the private sector, where this is directed at both. So we are providing a skill set that is useful for graduates to work in different levels of government in terms of developing policy, critiquing policy, policy research and policy development.”
While there are only ten students in total between the two program this semester, Lamb believes that the programs may attract students with undergraduate degrees from other areas of study in the future.
“I could see a student that has an undergraduate degree in Natural Resource Science being interested in this,” she said. “In order to broaden their job possibilities, they might want to take something that would give them business and economics skills.”
Because of the specialization involved in both programs, the cost for each is slightly higher. Where a regular MBA would cost $44,571 for international students and $29,230 for domestic students, the MEEM and MScEEM programs cost $47,630 and $30,750 respectively.
While the January intake deadline for both programs has already passed, students looking to apply for the May intake can do so until Feb. 15.